Jimmie Johnson ok after being briefly shaken up in hard hit during Pocono race

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Jimmie Johnson suffered one of the harder impacts in his career, wrecking on Lap 95 of Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Johnson struggled to get himself out of his No. 48 Chevrolet, then walked and sat down next to his car on the outside wall, awaiting safety crew workers.

Johnson was entering Turn 1 when smoke appeared from the rear of his car, he went into the infield grass, and then back across the track, striking the SAFER barrier with a very hard impact, particularly to the right rear and back of his car.

When crew chief Chad Knaus asked over the team radio if he was okay, Johnson responded, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Whoo, I got away with one there. When I hit the brakes, the pedal went straight to the floor.”

Johnson told FS1, “It went right to the floor. I think the smoke was the brake fluid coming out of whatever failed. I can only speculate I had the brakes too hot, and when I went to them, they just went to the floor, I didn’t have a pedal to push on. I’m fine, certainly a big scare, I haven’t had a scare like that since 2000 in Watkins Glen.”

Johnson tried to find some humor from the incident, adding, “I’m just letting my wife and kids and mom know I’m okay. I’ll just go change my underwear and get ready to go home.”

Jamie McMurray was also involved in a trailing incident.

It appeared McMurray may have been caught up in some of the fluids from Johnson’s car when he also hit the outer SAFER barrier and then rolled across the track, his car on fire.

McMurray quickly escaped the car, which was consumed by the fire before rescue workers extinguished it.

“Actually, my brake pedal went to the ground,” McMurray said over his team radio.

The race was red-flagged for more than 23 minutes as track personnel towed away both cars and cleared the debris.

McMurray told FS1, “I didn’t really even see the 48 car wrecking until I just went down, got on my brake pedal and my pedal started to go to the floor. I had a little bit that I thought I could pump it. I thought I was going to be okay. I don’t know if I got into some oil, but I just started spinning — and I didn’t have any brakes. It’s really weird we both had the same thing happen at the same place on the racetrack. Fortunately we’re both okay and we move on.”

McMurray will likely finish the day 37th, and Johnson 36th.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway to end short track racing, drops NASCAR sanction

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Motor Mile Speedway has decided to not renew its NASCAR sanction for 2018, ending its reign as a circle track.

The .416-mile paved oval track in Fairlawn, Virginia, will undergo a significant transformation starting next year which does not include short track racing. A NASCAR Home Track, it has hosted the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for a number of years and hosted a number of then-Busch Series races nearly 30 years ago.

While it may return to host some select racing events in the future, track officials in a news release announced it will soon host “a variety of entertainment and sporting events.”

“We have tried to make the speedway successful, but with a downturn in interest, it’s increasingly difficult to make it work,” Speedway co-owner David Hagan said in a media release. “We are looking at a variety of events to bring new life and excitement to the property.

“The schedule could include everything from concerts, mud runs, festivals, camping, and even new racing events at some point.  You name it and it’s probably come up at our table.”

Located about an hour southwest of Roanoke, Virginia, the speedway sits on a 170-acre parcel of land. While the speedway will cease holding races, it’s adjacent drag strip will continue to operate for sportsman racing.

Click here for the full media release from the speedway.

NASCAR issues three lug nut penalties in final penalty report of season

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NASCAR has issued three penalties to crew chiefs for unsecured lug nuts following the championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Jason Ratcliff, crew chief on the No. 20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth, has been fined $20,000 and suspended one Cup points race for two unsecured lug nuts.

Ratcliff will be moving to the Xfinity Series to serve as Christopher Bell’s crew chief next season. The suspension is series specific. So he will be available to crew chief Bell in the season-opening race at Daytona.

Paul Wolfe, crew chief on Brad Keselowski‘s No. 2 Ford, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Camping World Truck Series, Phil Gould, crew chief on Ryan Truex‘s No. 16 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

Watch: Denver-area fans celebrate Martin Truex Jr.’s championship

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Barney Visser’s Furniture Row Racing is the only Cup team headquartered west of the Mississippi River, claiming Denver, Colorado, as its home.

Since the team began competing in NASCAR in 2005, the team has built up a dedicated fanbase in the city.

Those fans were rewarded when Martin Truex Jr. won Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 and claimed the team’s first Cup championship.

One watch party in the area took place the Quaker Steak & Lube in Westminster, just north of Denver.

A fan has shared video of the moment Truex captured the championship.

Above, you can watch the Furniture Row Racing fans in attendance celebrate during the final lap of the race.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler shouldn’t blame Ryan Preece for losing Xfinity title

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It was arguably one of the most difficult pills Elliott Sadler has ever had to swallow.

Just when it appeared he might finally capture his first career NASCAR championship in Saturday’s Xfinity Series title race, Sadler found himself held up by Ryan Preece, who was racing for the car owner’s title for Joe Gibbs Racing but was not involved in the race for the driver championship.

Preece was running the high line and kept Sadler from getting by him. Sadler tried everything he could to pass Preece, even putting his bumper into the back of Preece’s Toyota to get him to move over.

But that contact ultimately wound up costing Sadler one last chance to catch William Byron, who went on to win the Xfinity championship in his first year in the series.

Sadler, meanwhile, finished second for the second consecutive year — and the fourth time in the last seven seasons.

On Monday’s NASCAR America, analysts Dale Jarrett and Parker Kligerman broke down what happened to Sadler and whether Preece played a part in preventing Sadler from winning the title.

Here’s how Jarrett looked at it:

“I understand the frustration from Elliott Sadler with a driver that really’s not involved in anything. Ryan Preece is an outstanding young driver that made a name for himself. … I think they gave him bad information and put this young man in a very difficult situation. He wasn’t going to catch the 22 car at that point in time. It was really time for him to get out of the way of the two drivers battling for the championship.

“Unfortunately, his name is going to be associated with affecting the championship in this way. It’s part of it, he doesn’t have to pull out of the way, it’s up to Elliott to figure out a way to get around him.”

And here’s how Kligerman analyzed things:

“I completely understand Elliott Sadler’s frustrations. He had a chance to win the championship, he was in the front and felt like not being able to accomplish that pass on Ryan Preece and maybe get a little help there.

“But it’s not like Ryan stuck it out there, he was beside him and it just didn’t work out. And as they got together, I felt Ryan was running the same line he had been running, and that was Elliott trying to make a last-ditch effort.

“… He’s racing to have a job, to have a career in this sport, like Elliott Sadler. He told me after the race he was upset because he was an Elliott Sadler fan his whole life. He grew up watching Elliott Sadler. He did not want to be part of the championship discussion but was trying to do his job, doing what Joe Gibbs Racing told him to do, which was to try to beat the 22 for the owner’s title.

“I know why Elliott is upset, it’s the fourth time he’s finished second, but I don’t think Ryan did anything wrong.”

Catch more of what Parker and DJ had to say in the video above.

And speaking of William Byron, check out what our two analysts had to say about his championship in the video below.